So, Who Killed Imeem, Anyway? Executives Blame The Orchard…

Imeem may have connected with an audience, but it never got its happy ending. The once-promising startup was bloodied by lawsuits, lopsided licensing deals, and an underperforming ad-supported model. Now, MySpace Music is plucking the remains at fire-sale valuations, and investors are walking away with mere lint.

But, for much of 2009, Imeem was hanging on and toughing it out, hoping for a sunnier clime. That could have included a reworked model, always a possibility when a sticky audience is involved. But according to executives inside the company, the decision to finally cut the lights was prompted by an unlikely opponent – The Orchard.

Ahead of the decision to fold (or fire-sell), the independent aggregator had filed an expensive lawsuit against Imeem related to the alleged misuse of its recently-acquired TVT Records catalog. “We held an emergency board meeting to shut everything down,” one executive told Digital Music News. “The [Orchard] lawsuit was definitely the final nail.”

Subsequently, other executives close to the situation confirmed the decision. “They just ran out of cash, it was just a cash thing,” one executive shared, also anonymously. “The potential liabilities – $150,000 per stream